top of page

Sunderland, Tyne & Wear

170 High Street West, Sunderland

Last Updated:

4 Jul 2020

Sunderland, Tyne & Wear

This is a


170 High Street West, Sunderland

Founded in 

18th Century

Current status is


Designer (if known):


Lower floor is an events space managed by Pop Recs

The Site is now owned by Pop Recs. Support this independent local business at

170 High Street West was originally built as a townhouse in the 1790s, along with a couple of other properties adjacent. At the time it was a premium upmarket property and appealed to the higher classes of Sunderland as it fell close to industry and the town centre while not being smack bang in the middle of it.

There are little records of who lived in 170 High Street West, but from 1890 it was occupied by a William Thomas Haddock, an accountant. He was born at Bishopwearmouth but moved over the river. It appears there were others who occupied the address also, including Charles Lilburn, a fitter for the Haswell, Shotton & Easington Coal & Coke Co, and lived in Flat B. Presumably the address had been divided by this time.

A decade later William Francis Cameron occupied the site. He was a boot maker but notes he occupied both 170 & 171. Therefore he may have occupied the shop premises on the ground floor.

'This row of 18th century buildings on High Street West in Sunderland, is being restored by the Tyne & Wear Buildings Preservation Trust. Number 173 was the location of George Binns' original haberdashery store in 1811 - which laid the foundation for the chain of Binns Department Stores (now subsumed into House of Fraser). Numbers 170, 171, 173 were originally built as two houses, later converted into shops and re-fronted - they are Grade II listed.' - Co-Curate

The site is now operated by Pop Recs, a creative and community space with another premises at the other side of Sunderland. COVID has impacted so many local businesses in the north east so it's so important we show them our appreciation. Go to the link above and maybe buy a mug or a t shirt.

Listing Description (if available)

The two maps above illustrate the site on High Street West during the 19th century. 170 High Street West is unmarked, but is situated close to the corner of Sans Street, which is obviously now occupied by the A1018. The density of Sunderland even at this point is illustrated clearly, booming as an industrial and shipyard town. At this point the town centre was closer to this point and was basically the whole of the high street.

The biggest contrast on the 1898 edition is the addition of Sunderland Central station which was previously on the south end of Fawcett Street. This allowed travellers to arrive closer to the town centre and the high street. It's fairly difficult to tell but at the site of 170 High Street West is a chapel, either at the back of the site or it was renovated to accomodate this.

The edition of 1921 illustrates a similar scene. A chapel seems to still be occupying the site, and many of the buildings constructed along the high street during the 19th century are still in situ. It wasn't until much later in the 20th century that the whole landscape of Sunderland changed, and much of the focus shifted from the High Street to Fawcett Street and obviously the Bridges shopping centre now.


High Street West, and before its renovation by the council and Pop Recs. It was previously in use as a cleaning company, but had clearly been left for many years.

Retrieved from Open Heritage


170 High Street West after its conversion to a creative space by Pop Recs.

Retrieved from Sunderland Echo


bottom of page